Ride malfunctions, trapping eight people on ride at Tennessee county fair

WILSON COUNTY, TN (WKRN) – A ride at the Wilson County Fair in Tennessee malfunctioned while eight people were on it, leaving them stranded until help arrived.

Something went wrong with one of the wheels on the Crazy Mouse ride Monday at Tennessee’s largest fair.

The ride is owned by the same company involved a tragic accident at the Ohio State Fair. This was not the same ride, as the one involved in that accident–the Fire Ball–was banned in Tennessee after someone died, and the company, Amusements of America, took it out of service.

What happened in Wilson County was minor compared to what happened in Ohio.

The Crazy Mouse roller-coaster is one of the more popular rides at the Wilson County Fair. Sarah Cryer, her son, and daughter were riding it for a second time Monday.

(Courtesy: Sarah Cryer)

“As we were going around to the first drop where they take the picture, we went down the drop and went back up the hill, and the ride didn’t make it back up the hill, and we just slide back down and rested on the track,” Cryer told News 2 by phone.

They were trapped.

“It was a little scary at first, but we managed, we were okay, they were good to us and they got us off in a timely manner,” Cryer said.

Wilson County Fair officials told News 2 that Crazy Mouse is a computerized ride that malfunctioned.

“The ride detected a fault, in this case it was a wheel, and when that happens, the safety mechanism kicks in and every car stops at the next break,” said Amusements of America General Manager Rob Vivona.

Fair officials went into emergency mode and quickly removed eight people from the ride. Only two of the eight cars were in use.

“Nobody was in danger at any time. Nobody was harmed. As soon as it happened, we made sure we had a full team there,” Vivona said.

(Photo: WKRN)

Fairgoers took to Facebook about the fair ride accident, many posting negative comments that the ride is owned by the same company, Amusements of America, which was involved in the deadly Fire Ball ride in Ohio.

“One hundred percent, it was nothing like what happened in Ohio,” Vinona said. “These are machines so we inspect them and if something were to happen while we’re open like simple thing you have to fix them. And after their fixed they are re-inspected to make sure it’s running properly.”

“Nobody was hurt, we were all safe,” Cryer told News 2. “I mean, it wasn’t something that the fair officials or any other worker could control, it was the ride itself, anything libel to happen.”

Wilson County Fair officials say this is the only ride to malfunction during this year’s fair, and they also say, two hours after it happened, the ride was repaired, re-inspected, and cleared for use.

“We do daily inspections, weekly, monthly and annual inspections of all our rides,” Vinona explained.

Cryer said she’s not going to let what happened stop her family from going back.

“Are we going back again? Yes, we are,” Cryer said. “We’re going back, will my kids ride again, absolutely. There is no sense in living life in fear.”

Fair officials gave those riders refreshments and even offered them a free day at the fair.

The Wilson County Fair runs through Saturday.

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